Payments to 130,000 Irish farmers and businesses from €1.8bn EU funds made public
Published 30/05/2015 | 09:02
The details of the individual payments to 130,000 Irish farmers, businesses, stud farms and agricultural colleges from €1.8bn in EU funds has been made public today.
Farm bodies have reacted angrily describing it as a "security threat" that would place rural families at risk.
The Department of Agriculture said it made public the details of the €1.2bn in Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments as required by the European Commission before the May 31 deadline.
The payments included the name of the recipient and the amount. However, the person's municipal district under the electoral register is posted up, rather than their postal address.
Only CAP payments over €1,250 have been published.
In addition to the CAP payments, details of the €600,000 paid to farmers under schemes to support the running of farms such as the disadvantaged area payments have been revealed.
The EU payments from October 16, 2013 to October 15, 2014 showed a wide variation across the country in the monies received under the scheme.
Farmers in Cork received over €215m, including single farm payment and other schemes, with 43 farmers and businesses receiving more than €100,000. In Tipperary, EU funds topped €129m, while farmers in both Carlow and Leitrim received payments of over €34m.
In Co Meath a farm owned by meat processor Kepak received €257,482, while in Waterford Glanbia Foods Society Ltd received €360,671 and John and Peter Queally of Dawn Meats received €686,958.
Agricultural colleges were also listed among the payments with Teagasc receiving €98,546 in Carlow and €122,254 for its Grange Research Centre in Co Meath.
In Kildare, Kildangan Stud owned by the Maktoum family was given €153,119 in funds last year.
Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) president Eddie Downey described it as a "breach" of confidentiality to release farmers' personal financial data.
He said they had genuine concerns it would pose a security threat for farmers.
Mr Downey urged Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to challenge this "unacceptable" infringement.
He said anyone wanted to access the information should have to register.
John Comer, president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), also raised concerns that publishing the information could attract the attention of criminals.
The Department said it was required by the European Commission to publish details of CAP funding as a "transparency" measure.
“Farmers are fully entitled to draw down these funds as part of the CAP but as public money is involved, details of how these funds are spent are being published. Member States have no discretion in the matter and information must be published by the May 31 deadline," a spokeswoman stated.
The average payment to farmers is in the region of €9,000.
The practice of making public the payments was halted since 2010 after a challenge on data protection grounds was taken on behalf of a German farmer.